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12-year-old dies day after fire at Petah Tikva home

Two brothers mildly hurt, while neighbor who rushed into home to rescue them is also seriously wounded

Emil Laufer (courtesy)
Emil Laufer (courtesy)

A day after a fire consumed a Petah Tikva home, a 12-year-old boy critically wounded in the blaze died on Friday night.

Emil Alufer was taken to hospital in critical condition in the early hours of Thursday with severe burn injuries, and suffering from smoke inhalation, medics said.

Another man in his 50s was seriously hurt after he rushed into the home to rescue Alufer’s younger siblings. The two, aged 10 and 7, were lightly hurt from smoke inhalation. The neighbor was unable to reach Emil.

Fire and Rescue Service volunteers arrived after a short while and managed to extract the boy, who was apparently trapped in the shower.

He was taken to Schneider Medical Center, along with his younger siblings. The neighbor was taken to the adjacent Rabin Medical Center.

The boy died on Friday night, the hospital said in a statement.

A fire consumes a home in Petah Tikva, on September 23, 2021. (Fire and Rescue Services)

Fire officials were investigating if the blaze was caused by an unattended or malfunctioning electric scooter battery. A reporter for Channel 12 news found a number of scooters and charging devices in the apartment’s living room area.

“I woke up from an explosion,” Emil’s father, Gadi Alufer told Channel 13 news. “The fire spread in such a way that I couldn’t go back in, even one centimeter,” he said.

“I didn’t manage to save him. He shouted ‘dad’ and that was it,” he added.

Such batteries, if not handled correctly, are reported to have sparked numerous fires in the past.

“There needs to be an extreme law, in my opinion, regarding this story. This isn’t the first time that I have heard of a scooter battery exploding,” the boy’s mother Revital Alufer told the network.

“As the popularity of electric bikes and scooters increases, we hear more and more about fires caused by the unsafe charging of the battery,” Orly Silvinger, head of the child safety organization “Beterem” told Channel 12.

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